Friday 31 March 2017

Restharrow & Reculver

28th March  Restharrow Scrape at Sandwich 

Little Egret.

On the 28th March i took advantage of the glorious weather and headed to Restharrow scrape at Sandwich Bay, this is a great site for bird photography as you can get quite close to the birds without disturbing them .

Striking a pose.

One of the first birds i saw was the above superb looking Little Egret , these are such graceful looking birds and were once a rare sight in the UK ,with the decline of so many bird species in the UK it's  great that at least some birds have increased their range.

Little Grebe.

One bird that never fails to show well at Restharrow is Little Grebe and at this time of year they are in their splendid  summer plumage.

Diving for food.

There were a few wader species around the scrape including 3 Oystercatchers busy displaying & mating.

1 of 3 Oystercatchers.

There were plenty of Lapwings also mating plus a single Dunlin flew around the scrape before being chased off by a Lapwing.

7 Curlew dropped into the scrape for a wash & rest before flying back off into the adjacent fields. 

Curlew's having a wash.

Flying off towards the fields.

A Cormorant flew into the scrape and soon disappeared under the water in the hunt for food.

Incoming Cormorant.

Standing tall.

There were plenty of ducks around Restharrow including this quite superb looking drake Shoveler.

Drake Shoveler.

Reculver car park.

On my way home from Sandwich after a successful birding session i decided to have a quick look for the Black Redstart at Reculver car park which has eluded me on my two previous attempts , however this time it was 3rd time lucky as it posed on the rocks.

Black Redstart.

There was also a single Rock Pipit which was camera shy and 2 Pied Wagtails which did pose for the camera.

Pied Wagtail.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Unexpected Bonus Bird at ...... Stodmarsh

Record shot of Black Necked Grebe.

Yesterday the 21st March i headed over to Stodmarsh and walked out to the Marsh hide where i had distant views of a single Water Pipit plus a possible Jack Snipe which was just abit to quick for me to get a 100% positive id on as it flew into the iris beds.

As i was checking out the Marsh Harriers i noticed on my phone that a Black Necked Grebe had been seen from the Reed bed hide so without haste i headed there .

The hide only had one occupant in it by the time i got there and they hadn't see it ,another birder had informed him it had drifted out of sight further back on the lake , i decided to head off along the Lampen wall to view from there and sure enough right at the very back of the main lake by the 'Cormorant trees' the quite stunning summer plumage Black Necked Grebe was showing , i only got a record shot as i had left my digi scope adaptor in the car !!!

On checking my bird records when i got home it appears this Black Necked Grebe is the first one i have ever seen in the Stour valley , a great find by  Geoff .B.


I had a walk through the Alder wood which was alive with bird song especially Chiffchaff , there was also a splendid Treecreeper near the bridge.


I then drove around to Grove Ferry and from the ramp i saw 2 ♂ & 1 ♀ Pintail plus approx 100 Teal & 2 Shelduck i scanned through all the ducks but couldn't locate the Garganey which was seen the day before however it could still be around.

I had a look in the Feast Hide and there were plenty of Teal , Gadwall & Tufted Ducks but not alot else, i did see 6 Marsh Harriers & 1 Common Buzzard during my walk around towards Harrisons Hide and back along the river towards the entrance.


Tufted Duck.

Monday 13 March 2017

Record Breaking Garganey......... At Reculver

Drake Garganey 

On Saturday the 11th March there were lots of reports of Garganey being seen around Kent bird reserves including a drake bird at Cold harbour lagoon in Reculver and this was the one i chose to go and hopefully see .

Birds normally show quite well (if still present) at Cold harbour lagoon , i decided to walk in from the Towers as it was such glorious weather , as predicted the car park was really busy but fortunately i found a space but had no luck with the Black Redstart that had been seen earlier , perhaps just to busy with cars & people ??

Lovely marked bird.

As i made my way along the sea wall path i heard and saw  2 Chiffchaffs which were very vocal and a sure sign that spring has sprung ,  there were plenty of Bees buzzing along the seawall here & there but the only butterfly i saw was a Small Tortoiseshell .

Just dipping bill into water.

I eventually reached Cold harbour lagoon and instantly saw the drake Garganey which was among several Mallard .

Having a good feed.

Garganey are such exotic looking birds and are definitely one of my favourite ducks , on checking my bird records when i got home this proved to be a 'Record Breaking' Garganey as not only was it the first one i have ever seen at Reculver but it is also the earliest ever Garganey i have seen , beating my previous earliest record by 6 days.


I also added 3 Redshanks around the lagoon , there were lots of Meadow Pipits in full display mode along the sea wall plus plenty of vocal Dunnocks , Skylark, Corn Bunting & Stonechats which made the walk there and back very pleasant , on arriving back at the car park (which was still very busy) i had another look for the Black Redstart with no joy however i did get a good view of both Rock Pipit & Pied Wagtail.

Rock Pipit.

Pied Wagtail.

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Black Brants & Owls ... At Seasalter

Sleeping Black Brant.

On the 6th of March i called into South Swale NR to have a look at the large Dark Bellied Brent Goose flock that held 1 or possibly 2 Black Brants , they were quite far out on the mud flats on the Swale when i got there but eventually they had a fly around and luckily came closer.

Mike.G. who was also present picked out a Black Brant which was quite near the front of the flock and showed well before going to sleep but even then the distinctive white flank and large white collar were very noticeable and it's overall darker appearance was evident. We thought we located a 2nd bird but inconclusive views were obtained.

Black Brant.

The geese were spooked once again this time by a helicopter and luckily for us they flew behind us and landed on the grazing marsh behind us , another scan through the 1000+ Dark Bellied Brent Geese produced 2 adult Black Brants which were side by side at one point , they are only a subspecies but really smart geese to see all the same.

Short Eared Owl.

Yesterday the 7th March i once again called into South Swale NR at Seasalter however this time i was looking for Owls , whilst sitting in my car i saw a Marsh Harrier mobbing a Short Eared Owl which to my delight land on gate post and distant but decent views were obtained.

Having a look around.

Eventually it flew off west and i didn't see it again whilst i was there , as luck would have it i also had really great views of a Barn Owl which also perched on the fence posts from time to time and flew quite close in as well, i never tire of seeing Owls and left for home very happy.

On fence post.

Barn Owl.